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Seven Things I’ve Learned As A Special Needs Mom

Over this past year, I have been immersed in the world of appointments, assessments, and therapy sessions.  I’ve learned more acronyms than I ever did at university.  And I’ve met more therapists, doctors and specialists than I can keep straight.

This month marks one year that we’ve been temporary parents to a little one who has special needs, and wow, has it been an education!  I’ve lost count of how many appointments we’ve had over the past 12 months.  And those were just the medical appointments.  We also have therapy sessions twice a week.

I’ve only been doing this for a year, but I know many moms and dads who live this crazy schedule year in and year out.  This is their status quo, and I don’t know how they do it.   I’ve been overwhelmed, stressed and scattered many times.  I’ve had to rely on my phone’s calendar app to tell me when to leave for appointments, and I’ve forgotten things more than once.

Over these 12 months, I’ve learned so much, and I’ve gained a greater perspective on a world I may not have been a part of otherwise.

Here is what I’ve learned:

1. There is a huge community of therapists, doctors and specialists that are invested in seeing your child do well.  They’ve seen the progress your child has made and they know just how much work went into reaching each milestone.  At the same time though, they don’t get to see the child day in and day out.  The ones who spend the most time with your child are the ones who will see the most in terms of progress.

2. People can be rude.  Yes, I know my little one has physical differences, but that doesn’t mean you should point it out.  Would it be okay if I pointed out your daughter’s crooked nose?  Not so much, right?  Same rule applies ;-).

3.  The range of what we call “special needs” is amazingly diverse.  Never see a diagnosis as a prognosis.  Kids are adaptive and can stretch themselves beyond our expectations!

4. Children are among the most inclusive people I’ve come across.  They make no assumptions about limitations, and they push each other to reach new goals.   They could teach the rest of us a thing or two!

5. The phrase “special needs” doesn’t always mean what you think it means.  It could mean anything from physical limitations, to behavioural concerns, to psychological issues, to mental illness, to any number of other things.

6. It takes a conscious effort to make sure your other children don’t get lost in the shuffle.  Driving hundreds of kilometers each month, the amount of time appointments consume, and the extra care that a special needs child may require means there isn’t always that many hours left in the day to spend with your other children.  Making a deliberate effort to connect with each child every day is so important.

7.  Help from friends is so appreciated and often a life saver.  We’ve had friends work around our crazy schedule, babysit our kids, invite us over for dinner, entertain the little one at functions, and distract him at church.  This gives us a chance to regroup or take care of other responsibilities, and that is a huge blessing!

Are you a special needs parent?

What do you wish others knew or were more aware of?

 

 

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!

19 Comments

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    People really can be rude when they don’t understand that some children are wired a little differently. My youngest has ADD, so I like to think I am very understanding when it comes to special needs.

  2. Ashley

    I am absolutely in awe of all special needs moms. Seeing the experience through one mom near and dear to me, I can see how having a community of help and support is essential. Thank you for bringing awareness to the needs of our mom heroes everywhere!
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  3. Kita

    I love you all especially for the patience. I have a friend who has an autistic son and my heart goes out to her she is a great mother but sometimes I can just see the tears in her eyes. Thank you for putting this up and for being a great mom all around.
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  4. Jennifer @ Made all the Difference Travel Blog

    The patience parents have is amazing. I can’t but to add an extra amount of respect to parents who have a child with special needs.
    Go check out Jennifer @ Made all the Difference Travel Blog’s latest post! Nine things to know about the stairs up the Eiffel TowerMy Profile

  5. Rosey

    I don’t think you should point out differences either. I’ve never understood why people do that…

  6. Christie

    You’re right on point with all of these things. I wish there wasn’t so much stigma surrounded special needs

  7. Christy Maurer

    My dad taught special education for years. I know he was really dedicated to helping his school kids get the best education. It does take a whole team and teachers are part of that team. Thanks for sharing your perspective!
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  8. Liz Mays

    It’s good to know there is such a massive support structure for special needs moms. Knowing people with similar experiences would help a lot.
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  9. Danielle K

    One of my best friend’s child is special needs and it’s been hard for her. The main thing for her is really how rude people can be because they just don’t understand.

  10. rochkirstin

    We feel most loved when the people we least expect to receive love and care from helps us and supports us to address our “special needs.” Friends are really life savers. Sometimes they are not with us but we know that they will make themselves available when we need comfort and advice.

  11. Tiara

    I have learned so much from being around, baby sitting and nannying special needs children. It’s amazing how other young children were so cruel the my babies I used to watch because they were “different”. I can only imagine how it is to be a mother around people who don’t realize that they are still people, with a working brain, smart, sweet and fun to be around. Amazing post!

  12. Franc Ramon

    It’s nice to know that even if some people can be rude, there are still those who wants to help and at times be a life saver. Those little help can really mean something in the long run.

  13. Penny Struebig

    I have so much respect for you for taking on this challenging situation. It truly takes a special person to be able to handle doing all it takes and you should be commended!
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  14. Miranda (Myrabev)

    I can only imagine what it is like but I think you’re doing a great job and thanks for explaining that special needs is not exactly what we think it is, it’s a lot of things.
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  15. CourtneyLynne

    So glad to hear you have had a positive experience. My daughter is severally speech delayed and it’s been a nightmare dealing with doctors and therapist! Being in a small town, doctors are too busy & therapist are money hungry! Even threw early intervention they just want as many appts as possible so they can make money & then don’t work on anything they should… So frustrating… I’m hoping once we get some more clear answers about the delay things will be more positive! Keeping my fingers crossed this changes to a positive lol….

  16. Ourfamilyworld

    I am sorry you went through all this. People can be rude when they don’t understand behind the scenes. They see only appearances
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  17. Joanne T Ferguson

    What a great post that brightened my day! Your must have heaps of patience and especially towards those people who don’t have the capacity to understand the gifts of a special needs mum!

  18. Jaimi@The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide

    This is so encouraging for moms. Although my children are not diagnosed as “special needs,” we moms know all children have their specific traits and I love your comment about a diagnosis not being a prognosis. I was diagnosed with a disease at 10 years old and it took a while for me to define “normal” for myself amidst the stigma and misunderstandings of my peers. Cheers to you for being such a giving mama! Thank you for sharing this at Wonderful Wednesday. I am pinning this one for sure!

  19. HilLesha

    I’m the parent of a son that has special needs (ADHD). It takes time and patience! 🙂
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